I grew disillusioned about editing the complete document before the end of February. In order to keep with old promises and new writing plans, I am providing the first five pages of text. The document I started with is quickly growing to yield more than thirty pages. If I continue in this vein to post everything, I will have no surprises to provide come publication, should that ever happen. As a result, I will be holding back from now on. Yet, I still would like to keep you on this journey, so I will continue to write and post in this vein.
Arcane III: The Empress
Inside will have to do. The rain drops too heavy and too fast to confuse for a gentle refreshing spray to land on my face. Waiting out the downpour until dry damp takes over under the awning seems the best approach to inhaling late autumn’s moisture. I watched the storm cascade in from the North. The dark grey clouds scampered across the eastern face of the backyard as I clamored for shelter from the cold winds. For me, memories of late autumn always dictate how and when water will descend from the sky. Winter is only a few weeks away and I do not think I could bear under the crisp chill of snow. Rain is all I want. I am dehydrated to the bone no matter how much water I drink. My fingers snap like breaking the back of an oak tree branch. Late autumn tinder for the fire is how I a drying out. Standing in the deluge tonight may either kill me or herald the beginning of my rebirth.
As for inspiration from the storm, I will confine my observations, studies, and songs to my bedroom. In there, concentration is not foreign to me. That simple joy resounds in my heart despite the room’s acoustics channeling the conversations of inhabitants in this and other houses. The interchange between houses echoes everything. For any occasion it does not matter whether I whisper under my breath or scream buried inside my mouth at least once a day. Today, sadness, engendered by the rain, dictates something other than coddling the voice with water or sweet tea. The lament of a lesser woman forms at the back of my throat nestled behind infected and cracked molars. It does not matter. I peel out in a squeal and I regret being flat before I sing the second word:
Empress sit by the counting tree,
Empress how will you answer to faces three?
Empress, tell me, how do you plea?
Heed not the darkness, mind you Hecate rules.
Tell me in the light
Why, for me, aren’t you alright?
I pulled the card months ago. It hangs on the wall next to the bed. Posting cards on the wall is the next best step to seeding my mind for dreams and priming the unconscious for creative writing. Sitting down on the bed I turn then unhook the clip from the wall. This season, here is my charge posturing in regal elegance and crowned as a rite celebrated of maturity. Empress is clean, fertile, and accepted. From my understanding what I see of her is a portrait displayed between blinded lights. Her beauty and our expectations dissuade from inherent darkness. This happen to such a high degree that even the lingering shade cast by attending trees is important to rooting an understanding of this visage. For now, I take this card as a snapshot. The design is a view of an emotional climax that directs our attention elsewhere thereby denying what ugliness of character dwells within. The object in the frame cannot be the only presence defined. In the Empress’s shadow, the presence suggested alludes to the conventions that the mind clings, the addictions that the body inherits, and the drive of sparked intuition. All these constructs and their varied combinations build a cache of knowledge that attends to the appearance and folly of my grand dame.
Honestly, for my bravado of accusations, I must comment that I have not stood in her presence long let alone spent time in the casting light of her crown. My responses are immediate and come from the gut. My rationale may hold no water except to explain some violent reaction at the sight of the card. I completely confess I have briefly read the interpretations as written in several manuals and books. Still, I yearn for a personal intuitive response that keys me into studies genuinely. Now, as a precaution to being consumed by the imagery’s patience to reveal its true nature, I tend toward Christ and Hecate’s senility for consistency and rest. Empress works me harder than any other card I have studied. Frequently I can make a connection and garner knowledge from the card’s visual teaching. It has been an hour and I sit confused probing her repose in the throne of begetting. I know one observation to be more than real. At first glance, she is fertility power at full potential. Meanwhile, I shy away because I have always seen how the arcane, high and low, manifest in my life. I pull back and build a wall between the fullness of Empress within and without the shadows I accuse her to wield. As of my biological clock, I am barren and dry for another month. There is now way that she could know menopause terrorizes my mind, strength, and womb. How could she know I have wanted a child for some time? By choice, education took the reins for my life’s direction. I came to know to late what timeliness demands of a woman’s body for childbearing much too late. I still have yet to work those shadows from dark moons and empty beds. For now, I sit in hatred and fear of Empress. I do not want this lesson. I fear spiritual death and a loud proclamation of ineptitude. Still, I need resolve my anger with this face of the Goddess manifested. But where do I start? I am livid for not being able to see myself in her. I want to know. I want to know what to do now. What choices do I have? I fear none. Where are the rites for a dried womb? I refuse to be relegated to the edge of service to attend others families like a slave. I want my own to nurture and read. I cringe at her fecundity and my selfishness. I must try to remember to be humble and serve where needed, but I can still have a life other than that of a “mammy”. Is it a sacrifice of my previous life to come to a different fullness with man and child? Selfishness dare I test it?
A digression suits these next thoughts. I came to this understanding by making associations with numbers and geometry. Empress as a three, is a designation of the of birth new ideas. The beginning is one point sustaining in isolation. As a result, one is an understanding complimented by extreme paranoia. The idea exists, but there is no reassurance. Individuality succumbs to community formed in games of attention, conceit, concession. A second point in the distance forms a relationship with the first in continual interaction. Two identities may struggle for independence, but for the sake of proximity a regular dialogue takes place to give deeper form, definition, and purpose to the relationship. Three points in the distance is the first sign of stability between marks. For three there is promise inherent and growth assured. Productivity heads three in any direction. From here we find the Empress a mediator and conduit to create new dimensions for core relationships. Empress is synthesis.
One can hope in resolve by Empress. She can internalize and transform issues yielding a solution that is more relevant than the coldness of intellectual problem solving. She is more akin to water than steel. Swells of emotion may test her personal grounding or motivate her rule. Rationalization and study may have no influence on her mind. For me, clarity formed in emotional psychosis is one of the dark sides of initiation for her rites. This is nothing The Fool, who is foolish for Christ, does not know. Both know spirit and act out of that well of God’s presence. Despite Empress’ presumed isolation, she sits in that tarot window with God quietly through the afternoon. Presented flawlessly in regal dress, her body runs a continuous gauntlet through a test like no other in creation. The test is the toll and passage that comes through blood and water. Empress conceals something darker veiled and more visceral than I knew before.
I cannot wonder but look into the Empress and stare at her stomach. Searching for a tell tale bump on the midsection, I am determined to find a sign of her fertility. I probe her posture with a careful eye and seek a sign of comfort within her hidden nudity. For that, I comfort in her. Comfort in one’s skin is part of a full realization of the feminine self. It took me years into adulthood to take the full mirror test. Learning not to be ashamed of my body became a conviction to be proud and knowledgeable of the physical that is woman. Also, looking at her, there is no confusion of gender roles or a suggestion of presences condoned as an assault on masculinity. I see her as a full, realized, and recognized as woman.
Instead of solely strength of mind, she is also strength of body. Still, being familiar with the female court cards, I wonder if this power Empress resides in is shallow. I see in her an achievement of mind and soul reconciling them with the body. Some days we sit in dictates of the flesh – spirit willing or not. We wonder whether we are soul with a body or a body with a soul. I have asked myself this periodically for years to gauge how ethically I am living. I have heard others vocalize opinions about issues of womanhood and I find myself aloof to their arguments and detached from the flashpoint to my core. There are days I realize flesh is a joy. Other days, I am reticent being told that flesh is the ultimate conception of God. What disembodied spirit does not clamor for emotions and affairs in the flesh? To me, elevating flesh over soul would be the call of dead spirits. Separation of body and soul had me wandering the corridors of houses and buildings seeking to settle my drive. My body walked behind quietly stepping feet gently to echo the path I was skulking. Then, upon much healing, it was my mind that kept me relatively whole. The flexibility and understanding learned allowed my soul rest in the shade. I learned to accept that I had a dark side that tended my health and safety as much as the blessing of the spirit. In the church where I got baptized, during altar calls, the light by the podium was too bright to withstand. By my eye, the cool light by the piano was on the calmly defined side. In this stillness is where I kneeled. The Empress, as an ideal champion for the ends of flesh, lingers in my hand like a pornographic photo pinched between index finger and thumb. It is not the depiction that matters, but what lay in the inherent suggestion between pose and mystery. I gaze closely and shudder looking for kinship. Meanwhile, I rise to the bedroom mirror only to stare at my face and muse at crow’s feet in the corners of my eyes. Even I know, by instinct, that I must take refuge in the Queen of Epees. Empress in my right hand, I find the feminine breeding contempt.
©N.A. Jones 2017 All Rights Reserved